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  • AASHE-STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 48.07
Liaison Kathy Johnson
Submission Date April 21, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Black Hills State University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Katie Greer
Sustainability Coordinator
Facilities Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Air & Climate?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Air & Climate:

The campus's greenhouse gas report is used to educate students about the effects that campus activity has on the climate. Students aid with the data collection and calculations for the greenhouse gas report. Participation in the carbon footprint report allows for students to be more conscious of their impact as individuals.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Buildings?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Buildings:

The Student Union is a LEED certified building which has a sustainability tour, which is commonly used in classes as a living lab. Tours and signage show various points that make up the building certification.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Energy?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Energy:

The university has faculty engaged in solar energy research that use the several renewable energy devices (solar cells, wind turbine) on campus in student discussions and experiments. On campus student fabricate and measure solar cell activity and have received grants for funding in this area.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Food & Dining?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Food & Dining:

BHSU has a campus community vegetable and fruit garden. Several workshops on organic gardening and growing food take place throughout the summer. Volunteers are able to take home produce. Biology lab students are planting seeds to test growth. Those starts will be planted in the garden after the semester is over.
In previous years, students have received internship class credit for work on local food marketing through out Spearfish Local program.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Grounds?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Grounds:

BHSU science professors worked with their students to develop a native plant ethnobotanical garden on campus located on the southwest corner of the Life Sciences Laboratory. The plants grown there are native to the region and use less water and require less care than the green grass elsewhere on campus. Students continue to maintain the garden and utilize it in their coursework.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Purchasing?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Purchasing:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Transportation?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Transportation:

We are working with students to determine the transportation modal split for students, faculty, and staff. This information is utilized in our annual carbon footprint. More sophisticated surveying will help BHSU have more accurate commuting greenhouse gas data. This year a sustainability masters student is creating a new survey to measure transportation behaviors for a capstone class project.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Waste:

A student wrote a proposal for a waste minimization overhaul program. The report included three phases of a researched based implementation plan including a budget proposal. The report resulted in implementation of the trash buddy system in all campus offices. This new system has increased recycling participation across campus.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Water?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Water:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Coordination & Planning?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Coordination & Planning:

Outdoor education students are using the campus sustainability programs to create a curriculum plan for an Eco-Rep training.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Diversity & Affordability:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Investment & Finance?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Investment & Finance:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Public Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Public Engagement:

Students are heavily involved in the public engagement programming in the sustainability office: advertising, publicity, outreach, press releases, videos, social media, graphic design, and event planning. Their work leads to press, education, and increased public engagement.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Wellbeing & Work:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to other areas (e.g. arts & culture or technology)?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to other areas:

Two BHSU biology and geology classes have identified, mapped, and measured all campus trees. An expanded research project took place over the summer when three research students worked with Drs. Tara and Justin Ramsey to identify health scores and take pictures and samples of each tree as well. The information is available for use in GIS, online map, and Excel. The biology classes use this inventory in coursework, identifying patterns in planting choices and species health.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.